Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
We feed Taste of the Wild High Prairie or Diamond Naturals lamb and rice (depending on our budget). A 40# bag of the Diamond Naturals lasts our two 60lbs (one is a 10.5 month old puppy) four weeks. A 28lbs bag of Taste of the Wild lasts us three weeks. We free feed them and put one 2-cup butter tub scoop of food in each bowl. There is usually food left at the end of the night when we bring them in for the night.
I know the better brands seem more expensive--and they are initially--but in the long run you end up saving money because you feed less. Look at the ingredients list on your Purina food. I'd be willing to bet, without looking, that the first five ingredients include corn (absolutely zero nutritional value) and some sort of animal by-product or meal (which is all the leftover parts of whatever animal ground up after butchering, so in the case of chicken, it's the beak, claws, bones, etc). There also may be wheat in there, as well. None of these have any nutritional value for your dog. You end up feeding more food (and picking up bigger poops) because it takes more food to get the amount of nutrients the dog needs. Switching your dog to a higher quality food will show an increase in good energy (not hyperness, just energy), and better skin and coat.
I'll share the example of my older dog. He's now six, but I adopted him as a 45lbs 10-month-old. He is an Aussie/st Bernard mix. When I got him, I started feeding him Purina dog chow because that's what we had always fed our dogs. His long coat was rough, dry, and his undercoat fell out in clumps. We were going through a 20lbs bag of food every week that cost us $12 per bag (so $48 per month). I started doing research and realized what crap Purina was. So, I switched. Because I didn't have the funds at the moment, I "upgraded" to Purina One. I paid $15 for a 18lbs bag and it lasted us a week and a half (so $40-50 a month if I'd stuck with it). The next payday, I bought a bag of Blue Buffalo. I paid $32 for a 15lbs bag and thought I was going to cry. That 15lbs bag lasted us five weeks (almost six) and that was with having food in his bowl at all times. He stopped shedding his undercoat, his coat became shiny and soft, and he stopped itching. He also had a brighter eye and was more attentive.
As for collar versus harness...I've tried flat collars, choke collars, pinch collars and Haltis on my older dog (the Aussie/st Bernard). None of them did a lick of good and he'd pull my shoulder off. Even my former Marine, 6', 230lbs boyfriend has a hard time walking him in any of the above mentioned. So, I got him an Easy Walk harness by Gentle Leader. Totally different concept than a traditional harness and it stopped our pulling problems immediately. With the puppy (Aussie/border collie/catahoula mix), we use a traditional anti-pull harness from Walmart (I have a pic somewhere that I can put up, if you want). We tried her in flat collar (she can duck out of it like a greyhound), a choke collar, and this harness and the only one she walks in without any pulling is the harness. Just like bits on a horse, play around with different tools until you find what works.
Also, I second the obedience classes! Great investment!
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